Limited License: State Government or Civil Legal Services

Under Rules 15-301.1 and 15-301.2 NMRA, attorneys working for the public defender’s office, state government, and some civil legal services providers are eligible for a “limited license” to practice in New Mexico. Such a license does not require the attorney to sit for the bar exam, transfer a UBE score, or meet the durational requirements of reciprocal admission, but the attorney must be licensed in one or more U.S. jurisdictions at the time of application.

To apply for a limited license, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Read the Following Documents

If you already have an active application for full admission via reciprocal admission, Uniform Bar Examination Transfer, or bar examination, you need not submit a new character and fitness application and fee to the NMBBE, and may certify to the Court that you have a character and fitness application submitted on the basis of that prior application. This policy applies only to applications for full admission made prior to limited license application; if you wish to apply for full admission after you submit your limited license application, you must submit a new, complete application with the full application fee.

Step 2: Gather and Complete the Forms for Your Application Packet

  1. Limited License Checklist and Instructions
  2. Character and Fitness Application
  3. NCBE Acknowledgment Page (found in the Character and Fitness Application)
  4. NCBE Authorization and Release Form (found in the Character and Fitness Application)
  5. NMBBE Authorization and Release Form
  6. Current credit report 
  7. Certificate(s) of Good Standing and Disciplinary Board Letter(s) from each state in which you are or have been licensed.

Step 3: Prepare Your Application Fee

Step 4: Request Other Documents

The following documents must be requested by you and sent directly to our office by the issuing entity:

Step 5: Make Copies of All Documents from steps 2 and 3

  • This is for your records. Originals must be sent in your application packet.

Step 6: Mail Your Application

  • All documents from Steps 2 and 3 must be sent as a single packet (incomplete packets will be automatically rejected) to:

New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners
Attn: Limited License
2440 Louisiana Blvd. NE, Suite 280
Albuquerque, NM 87110

  • We recommend getting a tracking number for your packet as we cannot answer questions about whether materials have arrived.

Step 7: Request a Limited License from the Court

  • Find the appropriate application packet and instructions here.

Step 8: Make Your Application Process as Efficient as Possible

Applications can take several months for investigation and review, but there are things you can do to keep the process moving as efficiently as possible:

  1. Make sure your application packet is complete before you send it.
  2. Get a tracking number for your packet.
  3. Make sure you give us the best possible contact method for employers and references.
  4. Speak with employers and references so they know to be on the lookout for the investigator’s call or email and know what to expect.
  5. Respond quickly if we or the National Conference of Bar Examiners send you follow-up correspondence.

Limited License Rules

The rules and policies governing limited licenses for state government and public defender attorneys are found in Rule 15-301.1 NMRA [link] and on the New Mexico Supreme Court website [link].

The rules and policies governing limited licenses for civil legal service attorneys are found in Rule 15-301.2 NMRA [link] and on the New Mexico Supreme Court website [link].